Cosatu strike to go ahead unless new tax legislation scrapped
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) plans to go ahead with protest action unless the Taxation Law Amendment Act which was recently signed into law is scrapped.
The federation‚ which convened a one day Special Central Executive Committee (SCEC) meeting on Wednesday to discuss the controversial legislation that includes retirement tax reforms‚ said it would proceed with a planned general strike on March 1 to coincide with the implementation of the new act.
It also planned to picket outside NEDLAC offices on Friday.
“Between now and COSATU’s ordinary CEC ‚which is taking place between February 22 and 24‚ we expect all our affiliates to organise protests at Treasury offices and also convene workplace meetings and report back sessions in the workplace.
“There will also be lunchtime pickets and town-based meetings‚ and that mobilisation process will be assessed by the COSATU ordinary CEC later this month‚” the union federation stated.
“The nationwide shop steward councils and protest will continue after the normal CEC and will also include provincial marches. This will be in preparation for a massive general strike that is planned to coincide with the implementation date of this law‚ which is the 1st of March 2016‚ subject to NEDLAC engagements tomorrow‚” it added.
Cosatu said the message coming from the CEC was very clear.
“We will only stop this campaign if the law is scrapped. We want the whole process of social security and pension reform to be restarted at NEDLAC. Retirement’s savings belong to workers and they will decide what they want to do with them and no one else‚” it asserted.
“The tactics to divide the workers and the misinformation campaign from the state has not worked. Workers are united on this issue and the federation is ready to lead them to battle.”
It added that the SCEC meeting had appreciated that the ANC national executive committee (NEC) had instructed that there be a meeting between the federation and Treasury.
“This political intervention is as a result of the pressure that has been put by the federation on all affected parties on this matter. We appreciate that as soon as this matter was brought to the attention of the ANC ‚ they convened a meeting between us and the officials ‚ which was followed by the ANC NEC Legotla that instructed Treasury to meet us.
“We will continue to engage with all stakeholders especially government‚ but the SCEC was very clear that COSATU should defend its resolution ‚ and cannot afford to rely on the goodwill and the benevolence of government‚ especially considering the trust deficit that has developed between us and government‚” the federation said.
“The SCEC reiterated its rejection of this law and called for it to be scrapped. The meeting rejected the myth that workers do not want to save but pointed out that they do not earn enough to save. It also reminded government that workers all around the country participate in stokvels and savings scheme everyday‚ to try and save from their meagre wages and all they need are incentives not a patronising law‚” it added.
Cosatu said the meeting had also expressed concern that “NEDLAC is being made redundant and undermined and also that parliamentarians are sleeping at the wheel”.
“They should have insisted on a NEDLAC report first before passing the law. The NEDLAC Act has been abandoned by both parliament and cabinet and the parliamentarians must know they are the custodians of the NEDLAC Act. COSATU therefore shall wage a serious battle to revive and defend the integrity of this institution of our democracy‚” the federation said.